What four legs can do for two wheels
Get organised, look after your ride and set up your steed with a few tips from those horsey types.
You’ve got to hand it to the horse folk, they know how to bring themselves together — riders join at least one representative body, bringing them power and influence.
Imagine if we mountain bikers joined organisations, groups and clubs to build up our clout — we could have more trails, access and funding.
Start with the Wales right-to-roam petition
Catch a glimpse of another rider on the trails and your bike is unlikely to panic and drag you off into the undergrowth by one sticky SPD pedal. That’s a real issue for horsey types though, whose mounts are flighty half-ton lumps of muscle… hence the need for respect on the trail.
Mountain bikers should learn from this — slow down for horses and walkers, let faster riders past, don’t be a Stravasshole, and hold gates open for any following rider. Here’s the full mbr guide.
Treat your ride right
If you thought servicing a bike was time consuming, spare a thought for our equestrian friends — they have to wash, dry, brush, clip, feed, water, cool and maybe even drug their rides (prescribed medicines, of course). The enjoyment of their next ride depends on it.
It shouldn’t therefore be too much trouble for us to spend half an hour tinkering with our bikes after a ride: as a minimum you want to wash and dry the bike, lube the chain and check the suspension over for suppleness. You could also clean the brake pads and rotors — if you want to go the whole shebang, watch our video above (trimming its forelock is optional).
Set-up or step away
Our colleagues from Horse and Hound magazine tell us that no two horses are alike, and they all react differently to different trails, jumps, soil conditions, weather and rider input.
The mountain bike equivalent is getting your sag set right, your rebound dialled in, your saddle height sorted and your brake levers adjusted for one-finger stopping.